#25: Start a Grown-up Liquor Collection – 30 Before 30 List

Yoga one month, drinking the next. :)  The only liquor I have at home is Pastis, and the occasional vodka or gin. So when I decided to do a bit of research for #25 on my 30 Before 30 list, I first of all discovered that I should call it a liquor collection, as alcohol collection is clearly the wrong name. So what belongs in a liquor collection?

According to my dear friend Martha (who likes to hide information in 20 page photo galleries and downloadable pdfs, of which I don’t have the patience for) the following items belong in your liquor collection. Also, after realizing that I know very little about alcohol, other than that gin tastes like juniper trees, I looked up each one on Wikipedia as I went, so it’s kind of like a 4th grade report, only more fun….

How to Stock a Home Bar


Base Liquors:

  • Bourbon: Bourbon is an American whiskey, a type of distilled spirit, made primarily from corn (maize) and named for Bourbon County, Kentucky. It has been produced since the 18th century. While it may be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I purchased: Maker’s Mark. Drink of choice: Whiskey ginger.
  • Gin Gin is a spirit whose predominant flavor is derived from juniper berries. Although several different styles of gin have existed since its origins, gin is broadly differentiated into two basic legal categories: distilled gin and compound gin. Distilled gin is crafted in the traditional manner, by re-distilling neutral spirit of agricultural origin with juniper berries and other botanicals. There are several distinct styles of gin, with the most common style today being London dry gin, a type of distilled gin. I purchased: Beefeater London Dry Gin. Drink of choice: Pink Gin Fizz!
  • Single malt Scotch or Irish whiskey Single Malt Scotch is a type of single malt whisky, distilled by a single distillery in a pot still, using malted barley as the only grain ingredient, in Scotland. Irish Whiskey is a whiskey made in Ireland. There are several types of whiskey common to Ireland: Single Malt, Single Grain, Pure Pot Still and Blended Whiskey. Most Irish whiskey is distilled three times while Scotch is distilled twice. I purchased: Bushmills Irish Whiskey.
  • Tequila Tequila is a blue agave–based spirit made primarily in Tequila, Mexico. I purchased: Jose Cuervo Especial Gold. Drink of choice: Margarita.
  • Vodka is a distilled beverage composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made from fermented substances like grain and potatoes. I purchased: Rain Organic Grain Vodka. Drink of choice: Vodka tonic.
  • Rum Light rum is a dry, light-bodied rum, light in color and lightly sweet in flavor. It is produced from sugarcane juice and molasses, and normally has a short aging period. I purchased: Barcadi Light Rum Drink of choice: Mojito!

Other/Extras/Stuff I Wanted:

  • Pastis Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur and apéritif from France, typically containing 40–45% alcohol by volume.
  • Kahlua Kahlúa is a well known Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur. It is dense and sweet, with a distinct taste of coffee, from which it is made. Kahlúa also contains sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean.
  • Baileys Irish Cream Baileys Irish Cream (the registered trademark omits the apostrophe shock!) is an Irish whiskey and cream based liqueur, made by Gilbeys of Ireland.
  • Brandy Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine, the wine having first been produced by fermenting grapes. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink.
  • Triple sec Triple Sec is a variety of Curaçao, an orange-flavored liqueur made from the dried peels of bitter oranges from the Caribbean. Triple sec, which is French for Triple Dry, is one-third as sweet as regular Curaçao.

Base Mixers:

  • Angostura bitters often simply referred to as angostura, is a concentrated bitters made of water, 44.7% alcohol, gentian root, and vegetable flavoring extracts by House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago. They are typically used for flavoring beverages, or (less often) food.
  • Cointreau
  • Dry (white) vermouth
  • Juices: orange, pomegranate, and grapefruit juices
  • Seltzer (club soda)
  • Tonic

Next up: declare a signature drink… other than Pastis mixed with water/ice. Also, I currently have an embarrassing amount of alcohol at my house, thanks to shopping on the Interwebz.


  • Of course, the challenge is, once you have created the collection, you continue to restock once used. I have a pretty good collection, although I’m missing a few, but I have friends that could never keep a collection because alcohol simply doesn’t last in their house!

  • Let’s not overlook absinthe. The process of making it (lighting a cube of sugar on fire) is entertaining. Plus, everyone still thinks it’s illegal, making you look like savvy and mysterious and even a little dangerous.